Boston sound?

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  • 09-08-2004, 09:18 PM
    StanleyMuso
    Boston sound?
    Please pardon the ignorance of an Aussie, but I recently saw an add in a local Hi-Fi mag for what purported to be a highly aclaimed US speaker (can't rember the brand, and I don't have the mag anymore). Any way, this add made a big deal about the speaker having the "famous Boston sound".

    What on earth is that? I'd be grateful for some enlightenment from some of you fellow audiophiles.

    Stanley
  • 09-08-2004, 10:30 PM
    RGA
    Where's Cliff Claven when you need him.

    Hmm me thinks Boston Acoustics.
  • 09-09-2004, 03:38 AM
    markw
    Wel sonny, back in the day...
    .. and I'm refering to the 60's and 70's, there were two schools of thought on how speakers should sound. One, the "East Coast" or "Boston" sound was exemplifirs by a soft, subdied midrange and attenuated highs. These tended to be favored by those who were into classical music and other such that didn't require tremendous dynamics.. Speakers of that day that could lay claim to that sound were KLH and Acoustic Research.

    Now, over on the "West Coast", another style was emerging. This had a heavy mid bass hump, a punchy midrange and an extended high end. Typical of these were theJBL speakers of that day.

    Now, for a pefect example of the two extremes, A/B a pair of AR 3's and a pair of JBL L100's. That will answer your question better than this post could. ...and faster.
  • 09-09-2004, 06:08 AM
    Worf101
    Other notable examples of the "Boston Sound"
    My favorite speaker from the that era, hell I've 3 sets of em, are the Epicure/EPI brand out of Newburyport Massachusetts. They are wonderful speakers. Their main claim to fame was the use of speaker groupings, usually an 8" woofer and 1" inverted dome tweeter in various arrangements. "Laid back and sweet" are the ways to describe EPI's. Avoid any of the late model crap sold under this name but built by Harmon Kardon. Anything from the early 70's to the early 80's would be Jake though.

    I've owned or own Epicure 15's, EPI 70's, 100's, 201's & 202's. Love em, absolutely love em. Real speakers with real wood cabinetry. Those were the days. If you'd like to know more or see more go to:

    www.humanspeakers.com

    Hope this helps.

    Da Worfster :D
  • 09-09-2004, 08:49 AM
    Woochifer
    Sometimes it's referred to as the "New England" sound, and it was typically more of a refined and balanced contrast to the more aggressive "West Coast" sound. Nowadays, the differences between speakers have really blurred, and you don't have those same groupings and schools of thought like you had before. KLH, AR, and Advent models from the 70s I think exemplified the classic "New England" sound, which was a bit laid back for me. In the 80s, companies like Polk and Boston Acoustics took the "New England" sound and updated it with a bit more punch, but still retained the balance and refinement. Canadian companies like PSB, Paradigm, and Energy starting in the 90s started making serious inroads into the U.S. market, and further blurred the distinctions between these camps.

    Nowadays, speakers are in a narrower range of sound characteristics and for better or worse sound a lot more similar than before. Even companies like B&W that exemplified the "British sound" 20 years ago don't really follow that orthodoxy anymore. You don't have the extremes that you had before, which means that you got fewer truly bad speakers out there, but also you have less of the "personality" contrasts that you had before.
  • 09-09-2004, 11:30 AM
    Worf101
    Yeah Wooch.... I agree.
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Woochifer
    Sometimes it's referred to as the "New England" sound, and it was typically more of a refined and balanced contrast to the more aggressive "West Coast" sound. Nowadays, the differences between speakers have really blurred, and you don't have those same groupings and schools of thought like you had before. KLH, AR, and Advent models from the 70s I think exemplified the classic "New England" sound, which was a bit laid back for me. In the 80s, companies like Polk and Boston Acoustics took the "New England" sound and updated it with a bit more punch, but still retained the balance and refinement. Canadian companies like PSB, Paradigm, and Energy starting in the 90s started making serious inroads into the U.S. market, and further blurred the distinctions between these camps.

    Nowadays, speakers are in a narrower range of sound characteristics and for better or worse sound a lot more similar than before. Even companies like B&W that exemplified the "British sound" 20 years ago don't really follow that orthodoxy anymore. You don't have the extremes that you had before, which means that you got fewer truly bad speakers out there, but also you have less of the "personality" contrasts that you had before.

    We've talked of this before. I miss the days, or maybe you can say I'm "stuck" in the days of when speakers had "personality". An AR didn't sound like a JBL or an B&W or a Dynaco and that was "alright"!! You chose what you wanted and it didn't sound or necessarily LOOK like any other speaker out there. It was when you could tell a car by it's taillights and nothing more. Can't do that today and I think we're poorer for it.

    Da Worfster
  • 09-09-2004, 02:56 PM
    RGA
    Worf101

    Yeah unfortunately we now have a highly homogonized McSpeaker industry where everything is mostly toxic sounding. Yes there will be the arguemtn that the one approach is being followed because it's the best approach group. Fine enjoy your fries with that Big Mac - obviously the best burgers available.
  • 09-09-2004, 03:12 PM
    Geoffcin
    I'm right there with you dude
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Worf101
    My favorite speaker from the that era, hell I've 3 sets of em, are the Epicure/EPI brand out of Newburyport Massachusetts. They are wonderful speakers. Their main claim to fame was the use of speaker groupings, usually an 8" woofer and 1" inverted dome tweeter in various arrangements. "Laid back and sweet" are the ways to describe EPI's. Avoid any of the late model crap sold under this name but built by Harmon Kardon. Anything from the early 70's to the early 80's would be Jake though.

    I've owned or own Epicure 15's, EPI 70's, 100's, 201's & 202's. Love em, absolutely love em. Real speakers with real wood cabinetry. Those were the days. If you'd like to know more or see more go to:

    www.humanspeakers.com

    Hope this helps.

    Da Worfster :D

    Still got my last set of EPI's, and you can have them when you pry them from my cold dead hands. I keep eyeing this Human dude's website, and wondering if it might make sense to try a pair for the bedroom. Lord knows I could use another set of speakers!

    I'm of the opinion that "if you like the way it sounds that's good". EPI's were the first set of speakers I bought, and I intend to keep them around for a while.

    Strangly, my Cambridge Soundworks T500's are voiced very similarly, harking back to the days of the "New England Sound." They got ripped by Stereophile for the laidback treble, but that's music to my ears especially when viewing a 3hr movie at theater level SPL.
  • 09-09-2004, 04:41 PM
    StanleyMuso
    This is very enlightening
    I love this hobby. One always learns something new. And I'm always impressed by the knowledge of this board's users.

    I am on a long hunt for replacement speakers, and here in Australia, we have a very healthy local speaker industry ranging from the small boutique types to the larger companies which export all over the world. Perhaps you have heard of Duntech or Krix? They are both based in my home town.

    On top of that, we import from all over the world, so although some of the brands I see being discussed in these forums are not known here, we do get a good variety of imports from the US. eg I bought a M&K sub last year. At the moment, I have not narrowed my choices, so the field is wide open. Hence my interest in "the Boston sound". Since one of my passions is classical music, although not exclusively, perhaps this type of speaker might suite me. I'll try to audition it once I track down the supplier.

    I am really grateful for all your replies. If I can find that add again, I'll let you know the brand.
  • 09-09-2004, 05:04 PM
    Woochifer
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RGA
    Worf101

    Yeah unfortunately we now have a highly homogonized McSpeaker industry where everything is mostly toxic sounding. Yes there will be the arguemtn that the one approach is being followed because it's the best approach group. Fine enjoy your fries with that Big Mac - obviously the best burgers available.

    I dunno. I think you need to listen to more of the older speakers before you go saying that now "everything is mostly toxic sounding." I listened to plenty of speakers lately, and I don't think I've developed any health problems in the meantime. In general, speakers nowadays are more uniform, but that's not necessarily a bad thing when you consider how many truly awful speakers there were 20+ years ago. Those are not the ones that people kept or remembered, so we're left with the better examples of what was produced back then as the benchmarks, and that's not an accurate view because the majority of speakers sold back then truly did sound bad (if you think that speakers with relatively flat frequency response sound awful, you should try grossly inaccurate speakers). You can't say that about most speakers right now.

    P.S. The burger analogy doesn't really work because there's no right way for a burger to taste, and no benchmark for what it's supposed to approximate. With a speaker, you're basically trying to reproduce a live or synthesized sound, so there is a benchmark to go by. If we were talking about food replicators, then your analogy might work.
  • 09-09-2004, 05:12 PM
    Woochifer
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by StanleyMuso
    I love this hobby. One always learns something new. And I'm always impressed by the knowledge of this board's users.

    I am on a long hunt for replacement speakers, and here in Australia, we have a very healthy local speaker industry ranging from the small boutique types to the larger companies which export all over the world. Perhaps you have heard of Duntech or Krix? They are both based in my home town.

    On top of that, we import from all over the world, so although some of the brands I see being discussed in these forums are not known here, we do get a good variety of imports from the US. eg I bought a M&K sub last year. At the moment, I have not narrowed my choices, so the field is wide open. Hence my interest in "the Boston sound". Since one of my passions is classical music, although not exclusively, perhaps this type of speaker might suite me. I'll try to audition it once I track down the supplier.

    I am really grateful for all your replies. If I can find that add again, I'll let you know the brand.


    Duntech is actually the first speaker company that John Dunlavy founded. He sold it to an Aussie company several years ago, and the designs from that company from what I understand still have a lot of his original designs incorporated into them. Duntechs are not easy to find in the U.S., but I've read a lot of good things about them. Dunlavy went on to produce speakers under his own namesake (went belly up a couple of years ago, but you still find Dunlavys hooked up to a lot of reference and studio systems). Heard them for myself a few years ago, and they were very impressive speakers.
  • 09-09-2004, 05:30 PM
    RGA
    Here is the problem though Woochifer. You have say 100 loudspeakers from 1975 and 5 were excellent. then instead of building on the 5 that were excellent they tossed it out and started again with a new approach. I'm not saying older speakers in general were better than newer speakers - there are good and bad of both - the entry level has improved markedly where something like the Atom for $170.00Cdn or so is better than most of the dirt cheap models of yester-year. My problem is the new ones that are supposedly high end. When I listen to things like, and no offense the Paradigm 100V3 and the 703 I am hearing a largely homogonized presentation. The 100V3 sounds strikingly similar to the Monitor 5 or 9 and the 703 sounds strikingly similar to teh 705 but with bass. Which sound similar to the Energy C line and Veritas line.

    To me this is a greatly homogonized presentation from manufacturer to manufacturer with some differences I grant you. It has more to do with JUST frequency response.

    I would like to hear speakers that sound different so that I can decide what I like the best not for harman international to tell me what I should like. If I want to like a Cerwin Vega despite its problems I may like some of the things it does much much better than what a B&W 705 for way more money does - like give me heart pumping mid bass response.

    I totally understand and even the B&W execs will tell you in person if you wish, that STYLE drivves their designs - they do the best they can but the people want their speakers to fit their decor and sound takes a back seat and has. They threw the baby out with the bathwater - they have lost the tonality and the musicality of the event for compressed tight soundstaging - it's good for home theater and nasal and thin in the vocal band In my listening opinion - obviously not yours and that is perfectly fine - it would be even more boring if we can ONLY choose the same speaker but just in different colours.
  • 09-09-2004, 07:08 PM
    Woochifer
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RGA
    Here is the problem though Woochifer. You have say 100 loudspeakers from 1975 and 5 were excellent. then instead of building on the 5 that were excellent they tossed it out and started again with a new approach. I'm not saying older speakers in general were better than newer speakers - there are good and bad of both - the entry level has improved markedly where something like the Atom for $170.00Cdn or so is better than most of the dirt cheap models of yester-year. My problem is the new ones that are supposedly high end. When I listen to things like, and no offense the Paradigm 100V3 and the 703 I am hearing a largely homogonized presentation. The 100V3 sounds strikingly similar to the Monitor 5 or 9 and the 703 sounds strikingly similar to teh 705 but with bass. Which sound similar to the Energy C line and Veritas line.

    To me this is a greatly homogonized presentation from manufacturer to manufacturer with some differences I grant you. It has more to do with JUST frequency response.

    You know why? Because back then those excellent speakers cost a lot of money to build, and that sound quality did not consistently make its way into the affordable price ranges. If something cost a lot to build back then, it would cost even more to emulate that approach now. It's not throwing something out for its own sake, it's coming up with an approach that results in better sound quality for a greater cross-section of the market. Those $600 JBL L65s that I grew up with would cost about $1,800 in today's dollars, but I can't think of too many current $1,800 speakers or even $600 speakers that wouldn't be able to far outperform that particular model. Those speakers had walnut cabinets, plexiglas prism tweeters, adjustable levels, and a host of other unique design features. They sound very unique, and actually command a significant premium on the resale market, but in my listenings they are far from accurate and subpar compared to the competition of today. I can identify those things from a mile away, but that doesn't mean that I want to spend a lot of time with them.

    The differences have narrowed, but I don't think anybody for a second is going to mistake a Monitor 5 for a Studio 100. They're more similar than speakers of old, but if the differences in the old days were between something listenable and something that was VERY unlistenable, I would say that a narrower range of differences is good if the uniformity represents an improvement over what used to be wild inconsistency.

    I never said it was JUST frequency response, I was pointing it out as a major contrast between speakers now and speakers then. Back then, if you wanted something that measured well, you had to pay a lot, now you can get something that measures well and sounds fine for a lot less money. The thing to keep in mind though is that 20+ years ago, you had a lot more speakers with VERY gross inaccuracies all over the frequency range. It made for very interesting and obvious contrasts, and if you think that's good thing, then maybe you should give some of those speakers a listen for yourself.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RGA
    I would like to hear speakers that sound different so that I can decide what I like the best not for harman international to tell me what I should like. If I want to like a Cerwin Vega despite its problems I may like some of the things it does much much better than what a B&W 705 for way more money does - like give me heart pumping mid bass response.

    It's not Harman International that told you what you should like, it's people who buy speakers that determine what gets sold. And what the market decided is that the boomy hulking tower boxes of yesteryear are no more, the vintage "British" "West Coast" and "New England" sounds are no longer viable designs that people want to buy, etc. Sure there are plenty of missteps that occur with bad redesigns coming onto the market, but the alternative would be speaker companies refusing to update their speakers and hold to some orthodoxy. Cerwin Vega held onto their classic west coast sounding E series and their reputation for booming bass, but the market passed them by and they barely escaped bankruptcy when Stanton Magnetics bought them out last year. They made something very different, which you probably appreciate, but it certainly didn't translate into a sustainable business model.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RGA
    I totally understand and even the B&W execs will tell you in person if you wish, that STYLE drivves their designs - they do the best they can but the people want their speakers to fit their decor and sound takes a back seat and has. They threw the baby out with the bathwater - they have lost the tonality and the musicality of the event for compressed tight soundstaging - it's good for home theater and nasal and thin in the vocal band In my listening opinion - obviously not yours and that is perfectly fine - it would be even more boring if we can ONLY choose the same speaker but just in different colours.

    Well, I would prefer a stylish speaker that sounds homogenously good over the many many ugly hulking boxes that sounded inconsistent and mostly bad. Style is more of a consideration, but if the end result is unacceptably compromised sound quality, then there are plenty of options out there. Fact is that we have FAR MORE choices right now than we ever had before, and a lot more market segments than ever to choose from. As long as you can still find something that you like, what does it matter what the rest of the market is doing?

    And how would "compressed tight soundstaging" and "anasal and thin in the vocal band" be "good for home theater" anyway?
  • 09-10-2004, 12:02 AM
    RGA
    And how would "compressed tight soundstaging" and "anasal and thin in the vocal band" be "good for home theater" anyway?

    Quite right it would not - which is why I know what speaker I would prefer listening to for Home theater as well.

    You seem to be under the impression that the market is the one who decides where the "REAL" quality is and that the majority rules which is really the best. Man Rolls Royce and Ferrari muust make the worst cars and of course Bose makes the highest grade audio speakers on the market - the market demands Bose therefore Bose is best?

    C'mon - a large part of the population could rally give a rats ass about stereo systems - I seriously doubt most people ever even pick up an audio magazine when making a purchase. For the small minority who do and come to sites like this and AudioAsylum(and considering the English speaking world these two are some of if not the two biggest there ain't a whole lot of folks who post).

    Are you under the impression that the ONLY people who drive a market are the consumers - that only when the consumer has a need does the market improve something? Are you saying that no company out there would like to sell a speaker at $300.00 and rather than spend $80.00 to build it spend $10.00 and then advertise its superiority? Consumers wanted small speakers yes - Bose had an answer and claimed its sonic merrits - people buy them in drives - then the followers all start coming out with their small fashion designs because it's working for Bose(the industry leader). All the companies love it - less box, less materials, less shipping less packaging - ohh man most people don't know the difference. Then when they complain about the sound we can sell them another box called a sub woofer(more like a woofer) they didn't get the first time around.

    I have never met one person 5 years ago who said I can't wait for SACD - II don't know a single person outside hobbyists and audiophiles who even know what SACD even is. CD is after all "perfect sound forever" Well until Sony, BMG, Virgin, London, Phillips, Et Al were faced with downloading piracy - so let's come up with a new disc that is far superior to redbook and improve the already perfect these EXPERTS claimed in 1982.

    If superiority is the thin slim line speakers of today and the Paradigm 100 or 703 is considered pinnacle like sound under $5kCdn then that is a sad sad sad state of affairs. It's no wonder that people with those speakers are desaretely buying SACD and or DVD A and buying a center channel and surrounds and subwoofers. Hell if those were the speakers I owned I'd be trying to FIX them to make them sound listenable as well and I would be rushing out to buy the next great equalization receiver and sound dampening devices, and new digital hi rez formats too.

    But we've been down this road before and it is off the original topic and it never goes anywhere. I've heard lots of this in the same room same gear same levels and I'm satisfied with my stance.
  • 09-10-2004, 08:32 AM
    Woochifer
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RGA
    You seem to be under the impression that the market is the one who decides where the "REAL" quality is and that the majority rules which is really the best. Man Rolls Royce and Ferrari muust make the worst cars and of course Bose makes the highest grade audio speakers on the market - the market demands Bose therefore Bose is best?

    No, the market decides what gets sold and what sits on shelves collecting dust. It doesn't matter what you think is high quality if no one else agrees with you, even in the high end. Audio Note will not survive if you're their only customer. Paradigm would not survive if I was the only customer who liked their products best for my price point. Simple fact is that companies have to put out a product that can sustain itself in the market and prove itself against the competition, no matter what part of the market they are trying to serve. Bose has the name recognition, and they also obviously serve their market segment very well, no matter what our opinions of their products are.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RGA
    C'mon - a large part of the population could rally give a rats ass about stereo systems - I seriously doubt most people ever even pick up an audio magazine when making a purchase. For the small minority who do and come to sites like this and AudioAsylum(and considering the English speaking world these two are some of if not the two biggest there ain't a whole lot of folks who post).

    You're right in the sense that the majority of the population hardly spends anything on audio equipment, as I showed a few months ago when I posted the consumer expenditure data. For most people, an audio purchase is a mini system or a portable device, and that's all they'll stay with, but that's how it's ALWAYS been. If you're looking for a heavily trafficked audio site, the AVS forum currently has about 2,000 people logged on and the pace of the posts there is very high. As it is right now, this forum would be lucky to get 300 people logged in at any given time.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RGA
    Are you under the impression that the ONLY people who drive a market are the consumers - that only when the consumer has a need does the market improve something? Are you saying that no company out there would like to sell a speaker at $300.00 and rather than spend $80.00 to build it spend $10.00 and then advertise its superiority? Consumers wanted small speakers yes - Bose had an answer and claimed its sonic merrits - people buy them in drives - then the followers all start coming out with their small fashion designs because it's working for Bose(the industry leader). All the companies love it - less box, less materials, less shipping less packaging - ohh man most people don't know the difference. Then when they complain about the sound we can sell them another box called a sub woofer(more like a woofer) they didn't get the first time around.

    That's a pretty contemptful view of consumers in general. The consumers ARE ultimately who drive the market, because it's their individual decisions that collectively support the audio industry. Speaker manufacturers ARE responding to consumer demand. If the old approaches could sustain themselves in the market, then nothing would have changed because all of the new ideas that came into the market over the past 20+ years would have failed. The fact that JBL no longer makes speakers with the classic west coast sound, that B&W no longer makes speakers with the vintage "British" sound, that Advent, KLH, and AR no longer make the classic "New England" speakers, is an indication that consumer preferences and the competition shifted and they had to adapt to stay in business. New players like Boston, Polk, Paradigm, and Energy came into the market in the 80s with new ideas, and if they did not produce something that consumers wanted, then they would not have been successful.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RGA
    I have never met one person 5 years ago who said I can't wait for SACD - II don't know a single person outside hobbyists and audiophiles who even know what SACD even is. CD is after all "perfect sound forever" Well until Sony, BMG, Virgin, London, Phillips, Et Al were faced with downloading piracy - so let's come up with a new disc that is far superior to redbook and improve the already perfect these EXPERTS claimed in 1982

    No, but there were plenty of people that were looking for an alternative to the CD, especially as higher resolution digital carriers became more commonplace in professional equipment and even PC sound cards. Keep in mind that the DSD format was originally created by Sony as an archiving format because their engineers wanted something to preserve deteriorating analog master tapes and retain the sound properties of analog recordings better than the PCM formats. It was only when Sony/Philips' DVD proposal failed to get adopted as the final DVD format that they decided to market the DSD format separately as SACD. The DVD proposals always had a high resolution digital audio-only format built in, since the technology for 96/24 resolution was readily and affordably available by then.

    The introduction of SACD also has a lot to do with the fact that Sony and Philips' CD patents are expiring, and they need a new source of licensing revenue. Since Warner and Toshiba hold the majority of the DVD patents, Sony and Philips needed a backdoor way of getting inside consumers' DVD players and around the DVD patents -- so, they took a format that was originally developed for professional archiving purposes and repurposed it as SACD. If SACD succeeds and they steer the market more towards universal format players, then they've achieved their objective since they would get a royalty from every universal player that gets made.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RGA
    If superiority is the thin slim line speakers of today and the Paradigm 100 or 703 is considered pinnacle like sound under $5kCdn then that is a sad sad sad state of affairs. It's no wonder that people with those speakers are desaretely buying SACD and or DVD A and buying a center channel and surrounds and subwoofers. Hell if those were the speakers I owned I'd be trying to FIX them to make them sound listenable as well and I would be rushing out to buy the next great equalization receiver and sound dampening devices, and new digital hi rez formats too.

    Who's calling it the pinnacle? You certainly aren't. The people who call those types of speakers the pinnacle are the ones who BUY them or PREFER them, and who are you to go condemning what they consider listenable or presuming that they are adding speakers to their system or going with high res formats because they suddenly discovered that they bought inferior speakers. These are ridiculous presumptions about people with whom you do not share preferences or mindset. Do you personally know anyone who owns a Studio 100 or 703 who's "desperately" adding speakers and other devices because they're unhappy with the speakers?

    I got news for you, people buy extra speakers because they WANT SURROUND SOUND, not because their speakers are inferior with music. They buy high res discs because they typically SOUND BETTER, no matter if they're listening on vintage equipment, tubes, SS, 5.1, etc. They buy equalizers because those are room correcting devices, and would work with ANY speaker from ANY era.

    Getting back to the original topic, consumers have gotten away from a lot of the vintage "personality" sounds because something that they obviously consider a better fit for their needs has come along.
  • 09-10-2004, 10:01 AM
    topspeed
    Hmmm, let's call George and see what he as to say.
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RGA
    I totally understand and even the B&W execs will tell you in person if you wish, that STYLE drivves their designs - they do the best they can but the people want their speakers to fit their decor and sound takes a back seat and has. They threw the baby out with the bathwater - they have lost the tonality and the musicality of the event for compressed tight soundstaging - it's good for home theater and nasal and thin in the vocal band In my listening opinion - obviously not yours and that is perfectly fine - it would be even more boring if we can ONLY choose the same speaker but just in different colours.

    I'm sure you're absolutely right, he installed the Nauts at Skywalker Sound because George just liked the shiny round mid-driver housing and its similarity to Darth Vader's helmet. Yeah, that's the ticket! It wouldn't have anything to do with their accuracy. Nah...

    You've been drinking from the well of Peter Q too much again, or maybe just drinking too much period (not that there's a problem with that). Do aesthetics matter? Only if they want to sell product. Will they sacrifice sound quality for appearance? You must be joking. Have you seen the size and girth of an 801? It's a 229 pound fire plug! That's aesthetics?! Have a cup of coffee, RGA.

    You mention that B&W does the best they can. Good point. My guess is that when B&W brings their considerable resources to bare, the "best they can" is quite a bit better than most.

    Look, just because AN's look like the proverbial box they came in, you can't discount good looking speakers just because someone realized that to sell product, you've actually got to make the public want to buy it. Case in point: A Ferrari 400i. It has the soul of a Ferrari (V12), it performs like a Ferrari (over 300bhp), and it sounds like a Ferrari. Too bad they wrapped it in a hideous shell. Not only did it not sell, it's one of the few Ferrari's that aren't collectible and is routinely ridiculed like an unwanted step-child by the Tifosi.

    To paraphrase a bad commercial; Don't hate something because it's beautiful. Appearance matters.
  • 09-10-2004, 12:06 PM
    kexodusc
    All this talk about looks in speakers....RGA seems to believe AN's outright lie that a wide box is somehow better than a narrow box.
    I hope he doesn't base that on the 250 word marketing pitch on AN's speaker website.
  • 09-10-2004, 12:07 PM
    Woochifer
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by topspeed
    To paraphrase a bad commercial; Don't hate something because it's beautiful. Appearance matters.

    Yup, I need look no further than my wife to drive that point home! Thank goodness Paradigm uses somewhat convincing looking laminates on their cabinets. When I brought the first pair of Studios home, my wife's first reaction wasn't "Wow, those speakers sound great!" (although she did say that later on after doing some listenings), but rather "Wow, those speakers match the wood floor!" And this coming from a woman who owned a surround system before I did! Lately, she's been fawning over the plasma TVs, and the wall-mounted Martin Logan Frescos -- only their $1,000/speaker price shock tag kept her from pushing to trade in the boxy speakers for a set of wall-mounted ones.
  • 09-10-2004, 12:55 PM
    jrflanne
    EPI M70's
    Worfster,
    I had a pair of EPI Model 70's in the back seat of my VW Bug. It was the best car stereo I have ever heard, even today. Of course, I had to hook them up to my Luxman integrated. Made the tweeters bleed listening to the Stones Gimme Shelter. EPI sure made nice sounding speaker for the $$$. Talk about a blast from the past.
    Jack
  • 09-10-2004, 01:51 PM
    Woochifer
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by kexodusc
    All this talk about looks in speakers....RGA seems to believe AN's outright lie that a wide box is somehow better than a narrow box.
    I hope he doesn't base that on the 250 word marketing pitch on AN's speaker website.

    Well, I think that there's probably some merit to using a wide box, but like everything with speakers I would guess that they represent a compromise where you improve things in one area and take a step back in another area. With speakers, every approach has a disadvantage of some kind.

    Thinking back to Boston Acoustics' model A400 (which if you've ever seen them are about as wide as a door), those things sounded very nice and to me trumped just about everything else I'd heard in their price class at that time (around $800 a pair in the mid-80s). What really stood out was how balanced yet still punchy they sounded. When Boston replaced the A400 with the T1000, they went from an extremely wide and boxy speaker to a narrow tower speaker with a much deeper cabinet, similar to what you find with most floorstanding speakers nowadays. In my comparisons between the two models, I remembered that the T1000 did not quite have the same punch, but it really improved on the imaging coherency and top to bottom sound quality, and the narrower design made that speaker far easier to place properly in an average room. I don't know what else the T1000 changed with the drivers, crossovers, etc., but I do remember that on the balance it did make sonic compromises relative to the A400, and made several improvements in other areas that ultimately made it a better overall speaker.
  • 09-11-2004, 05:38 PM
    RGA
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by topspeed
    I'm sure you're absolutely right, he installed the Nauts at Skywalker Sound because George just liked the shiny round mid-driver housing and its similarity to Darth Vader's helmet. Yeah, that's the ticket! It wouldn't have anything to do with their accuracy. Nah...

    You've been drinking from the well of Peter Q too much again, or maybe just drinking too much period (not that there's a problem with that). Do aesthetics matter? Only if they want to sell product. Will they sacrifice sound quality for appearance? You must be joking. Have you seen the size and girth of an 801? It's a 229 pound fire plug! That's aesthetics?! Have a cup of coffee, RGA.

    You mention that B&W does the best they can. Good point. My guess is that when B&W brings their considerable resources to bare, the "best they can" is quite a bit better than most.

    Look, just because AN's look like the proverbial box they came in, you can't discount good looking speakers just because someone realized that to sell product, you've actually got to make the public want to buy it. Case in point: A Ferrari 400i. It has the soul of a Ferrari (V12), it performs like a Ferrari (over 300bhp), and it sounds like a Ferrari. Too bad they wrapped it in a hideous shell. Not only did it not sell, it's one of the few Ferrari's that aren't collectible and is routinely ridiculed like an unwanted step-child by the Tifosi.

    To paraphrase a bad commercial; Don't hate something because it's beautiful. Appearance matters.

    Actually I bet if B&W had not given George the speakers for Free and if he had heard Audio Note things would be a lot different - for one? what did all that gerth and size and weight get B&W. The AN E has more bass and is much easier to drive? If AN is inferior then why do they match their speakers to each other better - which was confirmed by Hi FI News. The B&W is big and Beautiful - it sounds good and it's expensive. The E even the cheapest E annihalates it on sound quality but hey the E is too cheap and not as perty. And hey even the B&W designers will TELL you this in person - The biggest high end speaker maker on the planet with all the resources and who are they asking for HELP to build a speaker that sounds like music - guess.

    And mate you are talking to RGA - Big B&W Fan here - owned them - still recommend them. Audio Note does not advertise(his dealers do) because Peter does not WANT a big company. Odd as that may sound there is good reason for it. No product literature no information - even watt handling - practically zippo. It's about people who actually listen to gear and not reviews.

    But that's fine to buy looks as part of the package - AN does have nice finishes so they at least try to accomodate.
  • 09-12-2004, 04:27 AM
    kexodusc
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Woochifer
    Well, I think that there's probably some merit to using a wide box, but like everything with speakers I would guess that they represent a compromise where you improve things in one area and take a step back in another area. With speakers, every approach has a disadvantage of some kind.

    Well said.
    Wide boxes can elimanate baffle step, but in AN's case, the box isn't nearly wide enough to accomplish this. Actually what AN's speaker's do accomplish is to lower the baffle step into the sensitive midrange (bad, but that's where Linkwitz-Riley comes in). I suspect this causes 2 baffle steps at least below 12 KHz (just by plugging the AN E and J dimensions into some system modeling software I have). I could be wrong though...either way, it shouldn't matter if the crossover is good, which I've always suspected is AN's real strength, not cabinets, drivers, silver, etc, Peter Q is aweful hush on the XO's.
    Most reading I've done suggests narrow boxes were chosen not for looks but for the ability to increase soundstage width and depth. But in the framework of an integrated speaker system, the effect on soundstage and imaging baffle width has should be zero if your crossovers are optimized and compensate for baffle width. In this case the difference between "slim line" designs and "AN's width/height/depth" ratios is neglibible except for the baffle step shift I mentioned.
    Alot of designers I've spoken with tell me the wide baffle brings soundstage more forward (relative) at the expense of depth, but can be placed closer to a rear wall (helps bass), and is still atractive for this reason.
    So yeah, sounds to me like 2 different ways of getting to the same place. Definitely not a sound compromise for looks, but instead, narrow baffles make less work required in other areas.
  • 09-12-2004, 12:02 PM
    RGA
    Well of course AN because they are supposed to be placed in corners get around shortcummings of soundstage width - it's as wide a soundstage as the room can provide. You are correct that front to back soundstage is superior with AN over the comparable slim lines I have directly compared with Paradigm and B&W. Plus these speakers require certain positioning to sound right and usually means 3 feet+ into the room and well away from side walls and not being too far apart before the sound becomes very directional.

    I heard the 604S3 again at a different dealer with the speakers mor in the corners and well apart - the sound was truly abysmal. Not position friendly speakers - but that's fine if you as a consumer know this going in of course. But for people like myself who move around a fair bit or want to change my home decor - it would be a bigger issue for myself to have a speaker that can not just sound good in one particular position.

    No one design issue like a wide baffle or the complimentary drivers are going to be the end all answer. I got into that already with someone on another forum when I mistakenly said or implied that the wide baffle designs was responsible for the superior bass Audio Note gets. I just went by the fact that so few speakers are currently using a wide baffle and made an assumption - my bad. But certainly I felt it was part of the reason because they also have typically less volume than most others at considerably higher internal volumes that have way way less bass at louder levels.

    You say somewhere that They lied about the narrow baffles - well I disagree. Peter bought the competition's best available designs and tried to make them work - including the likes of Apogee. It his opinion and belief that those speakers have that sound characteristic. People can disagree with that but it is his honest belief and one I agree with after hearing some of the best examples of those "narrow" baffles they exhibit those characterists versus his speakers and why I went that route. That is an "Opinion" and it must be said there are many of those abound - if you disagree then he is a liar I guess to you - if you agree with him then he is the Audio God.

    This is the problem really though isn't it. Because Audio Note is doing very very different things than the rest of the industry - then his approach goes against the rest of the industry - read the speaker reviews and they say he has gone against Celestian Wilson, B&W etc. So you are swimming upstream. If Peter Qvortrup is "Correct" whatever that ultimately means - then the rest of the industry must be "wrong."

    Which side you end up taking will be how you hear it and that is going to be subjective. It is obvious where I sit because I have spent too many years listening to stuff that just doesn't sound "THAT" great to me. This is why I say if you're happy with what "IS" considered the "RIGHT" design alla Studio 100, N803, Totem Hawk etc then super duper for you. They don't do it for me.

    I would just like to see people listen to these in the same room as the AN's is all instead of 100 versus somebody elses variation on the same general design.

    Not the same front end gear of course because the Oto SE at $4k simply won't drive those others properly most likely. So I personally would like the person to choose amplification and a cd source at 10 times the price of whatever AN SET amp and AN CD player is being run. A Krell, Mark Levinson - whichever the person feels is the pinnacle of SS technology which will appropriately drive and not be blamed later as a culprit. After all SS is much superior to SET right? So the SET will serve as a handicap to the Audio Notes and so will their backward cd players that use no error correction. His backwards fighting the mainstream gear obviously has no shot especially on paper with the SET amp measurements so no one should be afraid of doing such a comparison.
  • 09-12-2004, 12:48 PM
    kexodusc
    Read my post again RGA, narrow baffles, all things equal, generally enhance soundstage depth, some say at the expense of width some say not. Hence, wider baffles can limit soundstage "depth". For all intents and purposes,givien the distances and the speed of sound, it's doubtful an AN versus Studio 100 or B&W 703' s baffle width is going to have any impact on soundstage or imaging.
    My main point was that an baffle/crossover modeling program will show the effect of the wider baffles and dimension of AN's cabinets on sound. Their baffle width isn't wide enough to do anything meaningful other than move the undesireable baffle step into the midrange where you don't want it.
    But that's not a big deal either because a crossover compensates for this.
    For all intents and purposes, AN cabinets ARE slim line designs, as the "width-to-driver size" ratios are not much different, not enough to make much difference in performance anyway. 6 inches even, isn't much when you start talking about wavelengths produced by a mid-woofer.
    That the depth is a smaller dimension than say B&W's or Paradigm's is irrelevant, as that's just a matter of limiting tangential and oblique mode reflections. Sure it looks different, and the cabinet's width is greater than its depth, but that width isn't enough to be substantial.
  • 09-12-2004, 02:04 PM
    stratman672001
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by StanleyMuso
    Please pardon the ignorance of an Aussie, but I recently saw an add in a local Hi-Fi mag for what purported to be a highly aclaimed US speaker (can't rember the brand, and I don't have the mag anymore). Any way, this add made a big deal about the speaker having the "famous Boston sound".

    What on earth is that? I'd be grateful for some enlightenment from some of you fellow audiophiles.

    Stanley

    To get back to the original question... Another identifying characteristic of speakers with the "Boston sound" is in the bass resposne. Tight and articulate. Owed to the fact that most (if not all) of the New England manufactures employed acoustic suspension on their designs (sadly almost extinct) as opposed to the West coast using bass reflex with theirs.

    This is a great site dedicated to the New England speaker companies.

    Now back to the thread hijack in progress.